Scroll to top


No comments

Artificial Intelligence | Does it spark the future of transportation

Posted on 13/10/2018
Artificial Intelligence | Does it spark the future of transportation

At the turn of the 20th Century, the first motorized vehicles were starting to run across the road. In these early days for automobiles, they shared the road with horse-drawn carriages.

At the time horses were quite reliable compared to this new ‘beta’ technology. Horsemen could easily control the horses, and they didn’t make as much noise as their inferior successors.

Fast forward 100 years later. King car rules the roads and the only place you see horse-drawn carriages are in movies or somewhere in a museum. The point here is that the mobility industry was, is and will always be fast-paced and open to new innovation. One of those innovations that is currently changing our perception of what mobility means, is Artificial Intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence in Mobility?

Mobility in this context essentially means transportation. So, we’re talking about cars, trucks, and freight services. Most people have a vague idea of what artificial intelligence means. When they hear the phrase, what comes to mind is a super smart computer. Although this isn’t far from the truth, it isn’t a fully comprehensive answer. Artificial Intelligence is a combination of Analytics, Advanced Analytics, and Machine Learning.

Analytics can be described as the ability to record information and access it when you want to. An example is when you record the travel of individual trucks in a fleet in order to get the total mileage of the fleet. Advanced analytics occurs when you write algorithms that search for hidden patterns in the analytics data. An example is when you write an algorithm that clusters vehicles with similar mileage patterns. Machine learning is when the algorithm improves itself from analyzing more data. The larger amount of data it can crunch, the better it becomes at identifying the task it was made for.

Finally, Artificial Intelligence is when the computer program can basically do things that humans can do. So, if a computer program can predict vehicle mileage and adjust the routes to reduce the mileage and save costs, it becomes Artificial intelligence.

A very important part of artificial intelligence is the data it needs to crunch to get better. This is not much of a problem; humans generate lots of data. According to Forbes, by 2020, every single human being would generate about 1.7mb of data per second. If you attempt to do the math, you would understand that it’s quite a lot of data. According to IDC, the enterprise data is expected to grow 14-fold from 2012 to 2020. To demonstrate that we are under-utilizing this data, research from the McKinsey Global Institute shows we utilize just about 50 to 60 percent of the value of this data.

Why is Artificial Intelligence within Mobility Important?

Incorporating Artificial Intelligence within mobility is very important for a single reason — we are humans. Humans by nature get tired after doing an activity repeatedly for a long period of time.Meaning the efficiency humans use for the first task would have reduced when it’s time for the 1000th task. On the other hand, a computer can do the 1000th task with the same enthusiasm and tenacity as the first.

Looking at the possibilities in the world of mobility, AI can be available for work 24/7. If human drivers drive continuously for more than 6 hours, fatigue sets in, with the resulting undesirable outcomes. On the other hand, a driverless truck operated by AI can be on the road 24/7 without getting tired. The other possibilities of using AI with mobility are quite endless. More on this later.

Current Use of Artificial Intelligence within Mobility

The brute power of artificial intelligence is still in its infancy. Despite this, we have been able to harness its power to achieve wonderful things. Presently, artificial intelligence is used to land planes more efficiently than pilots.

In October 2016, Otto an Uber company delivered 50,000 cans of beer with a driverless truck. The driverless trucks traveled 120 miles from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs at 55 miles per hour. Although there was a human at the steering wheel, he basically did nothing.

The Tesla Autopilot is another example of artificial intelligence in action. With Artificial Intelligence, the car can keep a safe distance from other vehicles, the car recognizes speed limits automatically and provides steering support. While driving a Tesla, drivers do not need to worry about operating the brake and gas pedal. Although, due to legal requirements, drivers have to keep their hands on the wheels during automated maneuvers.

Future Application of Artificial Intelligence in Mobility

All this seems awesome, but we should understand that we can do this much by utilizing AI in its infancy. The possibilities seem endless when we are able to grasp the full power that Artificial Intelligence provides.

With fully automated vehicles, the cost of ride-sharing would drop significantly because there are no drivers for the vehicles. Car owners can just lend out their automated vehicles to services like Uber without having to drive the vehicles themselves. The automated vehicles would also be able to work 24/7. This means that people can get to their destination anytime, anywhere.

Commercial trucking can make use of platooning to deliver goods. Platooning involves a fleet of trucks traveling closely together and coordinated by vehicle to vehicle communications. This technology is currently being developed by Peloton Technology, a company based in California. Investors in Peloton Technology include big names like UPS, Volvo, and Magna.

According to WinterGreen Research Inc, about 90.87 million autonomous vehicles, light trucks, and cars would be on the road worldwide by 2023. The same study also predicts that about 52 million passenger vehicles and 20 million commercial vehicles would be sold worldwide in 2023.

The future for artificial intelligence within mobility is one that comes with a lot of possibilities. With time, the only place future humans would see people driving cars would be in movies and museum illustrations.